When he appeared, I lined up my sights on his chest and began squeezing off shots. Happily enough, this book does neither of those things. It's not as great as Band of Brothers but it is good. That I had seen clearly the pain on his face when my bullets hit him came as a jolt. He published numerous papers on helminthology and in 1956 joined the Helminthological Society of Washington.
When he feels hatred or frustration, he's willing to lay out the ugly side of his nature, but it always seems understandable why a guy as nice as this might be pushed over the edge in these circumstances. It was gruesome to see the stages of decay proceed from just killed, to bloated, to maggot-infested rotting, to partially exposed bones -- like some biological clock marking the inexorable passage of time. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. Sledge points out that he witnessed one incident in which a Japanese was snatched off his gold teeth while he was still alive. The conditions taxed the toughest I knew almost to the point of screaming. Based on the notes he kept on slips of paper tucked secretly away in his New Testament, he simply and directly recalls those long months, mincing no words and sparing no pain.
Sledge looks at Mac however with a pained look, which wipes the smile off Mac's face as he realizes his mistake. Time had no meaning, life had no meaning. We existed in an environment totally incomprehensible to men behind the lines -- service troops and civilians. He speaks of how hard it is to hold onto your humanity when surrounded by such inhumanity, and to extend patience and understanding in his words to those who at times loose their sense of self. It was a brutal, ghastly ritual the likes of which have occurred since ancient times on battlefields where the antagonists have possessed a profound mutual hatred. We travel with Sledge as he works his way through basic training, combat training and becomes a 60mm mortarman in K Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. But reading this book one begins to realize A great read.
Imagine the rain is your only option and you wish that it will last long enough or else you wouldn't be able to rinse the soap. I saw more than one man … stand up horror stricken as he watched in disbelief while fat maggots tumbled out of his muddy dungaree pockets, cartridge belt, legging lacings and the like…. He had been wounded severely in the back and couldn't move his arms… The Japanese's mouth glowed with huge gold-crowned teeth and his captor wanted them. With the Old Breed should be required reading in our classrooms, for this is the brutal reality of war at its most horrific. The horrific sights, the deafening noises, the putrid odors, the physical maladies running from annoying to disabling.
At first glance, the dead Japanese machine gunner appeared about to fire his deadly weapon. I also like the way he described the non-battle hardship. This story is told warts and all and is not pleasant reading but if you want an honest opinion of the fighting against the Japanese in the Pacific then read this book. It will stop in your memory long after you have read it. The book follows him through training, then to the Pacific outpost of Pavuvu, then into the battlefields of Peleliu and Okinawa.
Sledge gets a feeling of uneasiness that the war might be over before he could get overseas and in combat if he stays in school. Eugene Sledge takes you with him every step of the way. The bodies lay pathetically just as they had been killed, half submerged in muck and water, rusting weapons still in hand. If a Marine slipped and slid down the back slope of the muddy ridge, he was apt to reach the bottom vomiting. The men gloated over, compared, and often swapped their prizes. You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you'll never know The hell where youth and laughter go.
In 1970 he became a professor, a position he held until his retirement in 1990. Among other things, what's so remarkable is how different Leckie and Sledge were as individuals Probably not right place to begin, but, more than anything, this book was the perfect companion to Leckie's equally graphic, disturbing, compelling, shocking, gut-wrenching, and poignant, Helmet For My Pillow. The war claimed over 50,000 Americans. Warning: this review includes some spoilers. The baby is taken by one of the officers while Sledge finds the woman alone and comforts her until she dies of her wounds. This is also a symptom of small unit reading, which I also tend to avoid. It was on Peleliu that Sledge encountered his first enemy corpse.
My dad fought on Okinawa, receiving a citation from the office of the president for his participation in the taking of Shuri Ridge. Both of these battles were known for their bloody and brutal fights. Sledge discusses not only the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa, but the transition from being a sensitive young man to becoming a hardened, battle-weary veteran. Some key themes and events include God as the creator and sustainer of his creation demonstrated through the accounts of the creation week, the fall of man, the flood, and Patriarchal History, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. As a culture we do not have the backbone or courage to fight like these men did. Occasionally he provides an overall view of the war, but it is primarily his memoir of day to day life, some routine, some in the middle of combat. Sledge is later seen eating military rations with Snafu and Leyden, and staring in horror as Snafu pries off the jaw of a dead Japanese soldier to obtain some gold teeth.
A bright young mind that aspired to delve into the mysteries of the human brain to alleviate human suffering had itself been destroyed by a tiny chunk of metal. For me, this tends to detract from my enjoyment of the book. O-hail, o-hail, o-infantry, the queen of battle. He looked at me blankly and moved on. For anyone else, it is still a very good, very enjoyable read.